LHoFT Foundation Launches Catapult: Inclusion SE Asia to Bolster Financial Inclusion Across ASEAN

Luxembourg, April 12th, 2024– The Luxembourg House of Financial Technology (LHoFT) is delighted to announce the fifteen firms selected to participate in Catapult: Inclusion SE Asia, a pioneering acceleration program designed to propel financial inclusion throughout the ASEAN region. This initiative underscores Luxembourg’s strategic commitment to fostering sustainable development and financial inclusivity on a global scale.

A Vision for Inclusive Growth

Selected from a competitive pool of applicants, fifteen fintech startups from across the ASEAN region have been chosen to participate in this exclusive program. These entities stand out for their innovative approaches to enhancing financial access and sustainability within their communities. They are at the forefront of a dynamic movement, aimed at creating impactful solutions that address the unique challenges of their regions.

Luxembourg’s Legacy and Leadership in Global Development

For over a decade, Luxembourg has consistently allocated 1% of its Gross National Income (GNI) to Official Development Assistance (ODA), demonstrating an unwavering commitment to global cooperation and development. Luxembourg’s financial sector plays a pivotal role in this endeavour, hosting a significant portion of the world’s microfinance investment vehicles (MIVs) and facilitating a substantial share of global microcredit transactions. The Catapult: Inclusion SE Asia program is a testament to Luxembourg’s leading position in the financial inclusion domain, furthered by the collaborative efforts of the LHoFT Foundation and the Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs. Together, and with the support of a host of other incredible partners, 70 fintechs in emerging countries on the African continent have participated in the Catapult program over the past six years, with significant success.

The Program: A Conduit for Innovation and Collaboration

Scheduled to commence in Bangkok, Thailand, coinciding with the inaugural edition of Money 20/20 Asia, the Catapult: Inclusion SE Asia program offers participants an invaluable opportunity for growth and exposure. The curriculum is designed to enrich the fintech startups with a comprehensive suite of workshops, mentoring sessions, networking opportunities, and investor interactions. Following the initial week, ten of the selected fintechs will extend their journey to Luxembourg, further integrating into the global fintech ecosystem and benefiting from Luxembourg’s extensive financial services network.

Supported by the Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs and orchestrated by the LHoFT Foundation, the program is bolstered by over 30 esteemed partners from the financial services, microfinance, and fintech sectors, such as NIA, DEPA, the fintech associations from Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam Fintech Associations, ADA, InFiNe, LMDF, SPTF, Afi, Bamboo Capital Partners, Bitkub, Double Feather Partners, Do Ventures, European Microfinance Platform, GGGI, TFA, Luxembourg for Finance, VIISA, Money 20/20, ABD, Alliance of Digital Finance Associations, Amarante Consulting, Brankas, TechSauce. These partnerships reflect the collective ambition to enhance financial inclusivity and innovation across continents.

A Pivotal Moment for ASEAN-Europe Fintech Collaboration

The Catapult: Financial Inclusion SE Asia initiative aims to bridge and strengthen connections between the fintech ecosystems of the ASEAN region and Europe. Led by the LHoFT Foundation, this program not only showcases Luxembourg’s commitment to financial inclusion but also establishes a collaborative platform for fostering innovation and creating lasting impacts in the communities served.

Nasir Zubairi, CEO of the LHoFT Foundation, said:

Through Catapult: Inclusion SE Asia, we are championing a more inclusive financial future that leverages technology. The LHoFT, with the support of our partners, aims to empower ASEAN startups to bridge the accessibility gap in financial services, fostering a world where finance empowers everyone. This program marks a critical step towards that vision, embodying our commitment to help transform financial landscapes globally.”

Mr. Xavier Bettel, Vice Prime Minister, Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, commented:

“The launch of Catapult: Inclusion SE Asia is a testament to Luxembourg’s resolute commitment to global cooperation and the advancement of sustainable development. By fostering innovation and collaboration in the fintech sector, the program aims to drive financial inclusion and promote economic growth and social equity across the ASEAN region to create a more inclusive and prosperous future for local communities.”

To stay updated on this program, follow us on LinkedIn throughout the entire duration of the program.

The Selected FinTech:

Streamlined Financial Services Thru Innovative Credit Score.

AIForesee is an innovative credit score company that focuses on supporting lending institutions that target the productive segment (i.e.: MSMEs). They aggregate alternative data sources (i.e.: telco data, social media data, payment-related data, etc) and process them with their proprietary scoring engine by leveraging machine-learning algorithms.

Eliminating cash rental deposits for residential & commercial tenants.

Their residential tenants: 90% are b40 tenants. They are the Risk management company specialised in underserved customers, being guarantor for them and helping them to achieve financial freedom. The idea is to assist tenants to save on rental deposits, giving them a chance to have mobility. For landlords, they are feeling safe because they verified all the tenants before approving them to use our Zero Deposit Program.

B2B2C financial wellness package for workers.

Ekko is a b2b2c social impact startup on a mission to help workers in South East Asia achieve financial wellness by changing the way they are paid. They provide workers with real-time access to their earned wages through partnerships with employers with a goal to combat the reliance on predatory lenders and debt traps. At the heart of their ethos is financial autonomy, which they foster by offering increased liquidity, comprehensive financial education, and tailored financial planning tools.

Sustaining Farms. Sustaining Lives.

Farmvocacy provides farmers access to financing using PALAYAN-Pawnshop digital platform as a form of commodity (grains) collateralized financing that enables farmers to optimise grain prices capitalising on the seasonality of commodity prices especially during the peak and off-peak harvest season.

Digital Financial Services Provider.

FINA is a modern finance institute using a digital system and an expert financial team. They are the first finance institute in Laos that uses the FinTech system to provide convenient financial services for customers and business partners.

Digital Financial Services Provider.

FINA is a modern finance institute using a digital system and an expert financial team. They are the first finance institute in Laos that uses the FinTech system to provide convenient financial services for customers and business partners.

Sustainable Finance Platform for Financial Institutions.

GoodTech is a sustainable financial technology company connecting farmers and homebuyers, merchants and gig workers, with rural financial institutions. Through strategic partnerships with established local financial institutions and the strongest players in the technology industry, they bridge the financing gap and make the livelihood of hardworking families more resilient to economic and environmental threats through savings and insurance.

Getting people out of the cycle of debt and on to a path of retirement.

They provide a holistic suite of financial education, term insurance, access to credit, retirement plan, car and housing loan, and mental health services. They are a B2B t o B2C financial wellness provider. They have 11 partners which gives us access to approximately 40,000 employees. They provided world class customer service driven by our intense CX continuous training and invested in an OMNI Channel platform.

iCare is a social enterprise focused on providing low-income women workers.

iCare Group is a social impact membership-based buy-now-pay-later service aimed at offering a long-term sustainable purchase cycle to women factory workers earning $100-400 per month in Cambodia and Lao. The business model is developed around making micro-value mass-retail commerce transactions through deferred payment over the long term with minimal cost-of-funding. These products are sold at competitive prices, when compared to authorised retailers.

InvestEd is a FinTech lending platform for Gen Z consumers.

InvestEd is a financing platform for the next generation. It lends directly to Gen-Z students and also operates youth lending services for institutions. It has managed $6M of funding to-date and achieved the lowest default rate in student lending through its algorithm-driven risk model.

Providing complete core banking solutions to rural financial institutions.

They specialise in Core Banking Solutions tailored for microfinance institutions, rural banks, and credit unions worldwide. Their primary objective is to offer a highly scalable system suitable for both small institutions and large organisations.

Lao Mobile Money has already successfully onboarded over 600,000 registered users.

They offer a versatile platform for digital payments, remittances, and bill payments. Furthermore, their partnerships with local businesses and government agencies provide users with various services within our ecosystem. Their e-wallet has successfully addressed the problem of financial exclusion in remote areas by partnering with local convenience stores to serve as cash-in/cash-out points, extending their financial network to underserved communities.

FinTech for Financial Inclusion.

LTS Ventures enables villages to run banks by providing a digital platform and training. Their solution is able to bridge the last mile of financial inclusion, since they are working hybrid: on- and offline. They developed a methodology to set up village banks and to train villagers efficiently in only 3 months per village. They are using AI mechanisms to detect and prevent Fraud and to assess loan requests in a smart way. They are building credit scores for all account holders that have been approved by the Central Bank of Laos. Finally they can disburse money into very remote areas. And all of that happens on a platform that is scalable and easy to use for rural villages.

Financial well-being for your employees.

Noburo solves the problem of income inequality in society through fair credit access and financial literacy for low-income workers by using both humanistic psychology and data science to design digital financial products able to solve the household debt problem in a sustainable and permanent way.

W Vault your personal digital vault designed for women by women.

Their mission is to create a future where women have the confidence, capability, and knowledge to secure a solid financial foundation for themselves and their communities. Their inaugural product, W Vault, was launched on May 28th, 2023. W Vault is a digital vault, offering a secure online platform where users can confidently store their important information and documents. With its user-friendly interface, W Vault allows users to efficiently organise their assets and liabilities, helping them manage their financial information effectively.

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